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  1. #1
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    Define the term "framework"

    I have read many threads like "What is the best framework" etc., but when you hear the term "framework" what does that mean to you?

    From what I have read and seen of the various "frameworks" I find at one end "framework" seems to mean "basic structure (i.e. MVC) and common functions". In other words, it provides structure and functionality that is common to most applications so the coder only needs to code parts that are unique to each application.

    At the other end "framework" seems to mean "basic structure (i.e. MVC) and common functions PLUS doing a fair amount of the work for you by generating folders/files/code/etc". In other words, it adds another "layer" which simplifies common tasks for the coder.

    And I guess there are a number of points in between where other "frameworks" sit.

    I guess my point is, there is quite a big difference between something like (e.g.) CodeIgniter (which would fall in the first category) and something that is a PHP version of RoR. Although at their very basics they serve the same purpose, the latter offers functionality that would be a godsend to some coders and a pain in the a** to others.

    Yet they all fall under the heading of "framework" in discussions.

    To my way of thinking, the former is better defined as "framework" and the latter is better defined as "rapid development environment" (which includes/generates a framework).

    I wonder if others find this broad definition confusing when it comes to evaluating frameworks.

  2. #2
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    I think thats a pretty good observation. I have been working with CodeIgniter on a few applications and have been contrasting the system to that of Ruby on Rails with my roommate who has been working on a few apps using RoR. On the other hand I also come from a heavy background using the Drupal CMS.

    I would almost consider that to be a framework of some type. After learning the API and module building processes, you can essentially use it handle user authentication, themeing, output block handling, and much more and so in respect to making a php developers life easier, it could be considered as a framework or starting point for a highly efficiently run website.

    I will also say that using a CMS as a framework for just any type of application is a wrong way to go, sometimes the shoe fits and other times its a bad idea. I guess it all depends on your project, how you look at it, and how much you know.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Addict webaddictz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KiwiJohn View Post
    To my way of thinking, the former is better defined as "framework" and the latter is better defined as "rapid development environment" (which includes/generates a framework).

    I wonder if others find this broad definition confusing when it comes to evaluating frameworks.
    Good call.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucchesi View Post
    I will also say that using a CMS as a framework for just any type of application is a wrong way to go
    There is a rather big difference between a so-called framework and a CMS. Drupal is still a CMS, made to make a website and manage it contents. The fact that Drupal also gives you the ability to overwrite their login functions etcetera, does not really make it a framework in my book?

  4. #4
    ✯✯✯ silver trophybronze trophy php_daemon's Avatar
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    Uhm, I'd say most of them fall under the term "framework". It is the structure and library, as you said. even though some provide more tools, something like "rapid development environment" is too big of a term to call.

    I think it depends on what part of the development process it takes up. Most of the frameworks comes into play in programming, testing stage. But I'm yet to see one that would cover requirement analysis, planning, design, etc. A rapid development environment would cover all/most of those, I believe, wouldn't it?

    So I would say that all of the php frameworks we mostly talk about are just that -- frameworks. Some of them having more tools than others, but none of them touching anything outside programming/testing, perhaps partly documentation.

    I might be missing badly, but that's from what I've seen.
    Saul


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